The volcanic activity in the Fimmvörduháls eruption in south Iceland is increasing slowly but surely, according to an estimate of scientists who flew over the eruption zone today in the afternoon. The lava flow from the crater is spreading out over a larger area and the eruption is becoming more forceful.
Photo by Hallgrímur Egilsson. Taken at 2 am last night by the river Markarfljót.
The Icelandic Coast Guard flew with the team of scientists over Eyjafjallajökull and the Fimmvörduháls mountain pass, ruv.is reports.
Visibility was limited to begin with but then the weather cleared up and the scientists could see the eruption clearly; the lava is flowing down a canyon south of the craters on the pass and clouds of steam rise up from where the lava melts ice and snow.
Seismologist Kristín Waagfjörd, who was onboard the plane, said that while the eruption is still small, disturbances are growing and there is nothing to indicate that the volcanic activity is declining.
Waagfjörd said the flight had confirmed what their sensors indicate. “The eruption appears to have been increasing since 9 am this morning. We are probably looking at signs of increased lava flow.”
A group of scientists, along with the Hella Air Rescue Team, had to turn around on their way to the source of the eruption earlier today due to stormy weather conditions and poor visibility. They were hoping to collect samples, mbl.is reports.
“When there are snowdrifts on the firn it is pointless to keep going; we couldn’t see anything anymore,” said volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson. The weather forecast is not promising for the remainder of the day but the team will consider another trip tomorrow.
Today’s trip wasn’t completely fruitless, though, Höskuldsson said they were able to collect some samples where ash had fallen east of Fimmvörduháls.
It was decided during a meeting between the Civil Protection Department and the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police earlier today to increase the number of police officers near the eruption zone because of increased traffic in the region and to secure public safety.
Click here to watch a video of the eruption shot by RÚV.